Glade Park, Dolores River, Onion Creek and the La Sals Mtns, 2008 – By Greg G

We took the the chance to explore the beautiful desert that’s not far from our home today. We left Fruita and headed South, up the Colorado National Monument and onto Glade Park, CO. From Glade Park we headed West on DS Road, to the CO/UT border. There’s not much for markers, here’s the 2 we saw-

After crossing into Utah, we drove along side a massive redrock mesa as we worked our way down into the valley below.

The Landcruiser was driving oddly, so I pulled over to see what was up. Found the rear tire was leaking and there was a hole in the center of the tread. I busted out the plug kit, popped 2 plugs in it and it sealed up. There was about 6-7 LBS left in it and I figured we were alright to continue. I had a spare, but wasn’t interested in changing the tire out.

At one point the road split and we had the choice to continue towards Granite Creek or head over to the Dolores River. I had been to Granite Creek on the dual sport and wanted to see more, but I also heard there was a river crossing for the Dolores River, so we opted to head that way. The canyon that contains Granite Creek is off in the distance.

After quite a few more miles, we finally reached the Dolores River and found the river crossing. We parked on the bank and went to investigate. We decided to play in the water and investigate the best possible route across the river. Our dog Daisy was having too much fun, she loves swimming!

This next picture was taken at the entrance on the North side of the river. Upstream and about 2/3 of the way to the right of the photo is the exit from the river, probably 80 yards upstream.

The exit.

And the entrance.

After walking it I thought it was doable currently, but not a good idea for us, today due to the steep river banks on both sides, a lack of a winch and being by ourselves. My plan would have been to drop in, stay close to the bank and drive upstream. It was quite deep over 10′ from the edge. If you kept going next to the bank, eventually you’d reach a spot where the water was not breaking. That was the best spot to cross where the water was the most shallow, the head over to the island and then the exit. Here’s a shot of the crossing area, it’s slightly deeper behind me.

Daisy was out testing the depth for us. Sadly we backed out to leave this river crossing for another day.

Found a neat old cabin along the river.

Turned a corner and all of a sudden the valley is full of green trees!

The trees and shade were nice, the road we were on had a lot of growth on the it, looked like it didn’t see much travel. As we rounded another corner, we saw another crossing for the Dolores River. According to the map and GPS, the Dewey Bridge (or what’s left of it) wasn’t too far away, so we checked out the river crossing and decided it was safer to cross here. My lovely wife Catherine offered to hop out to take pics and video.

Here’s a video of the river crossing-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtVjRRnwakI

The water was probably 30″ at the deepest, even though the water was moving pretty quickly we had no issues.

Looking upstream the Dolores River.

The charred remains of the Dewey Bridge.

We ran into Moab for air in the tire (I need to buy a CO2 setup!!), grabbed a quick lunch and headed back out. While we were in town a big rainstorm swept thru and unloaded it’s moisture. We headed up Onion Creek, on the way to North Beaver Mesa by way of the Hideout Road.

Up by the Taylor Ranch, above Onion Creek… we got some pics, then started our way up North Beaver Mesa from the backside. Heavy rains off in the distance.

The scenery from that area is simply amazing!

Further on up the road the sandy roadbase was just washed away from the recent storm. The land changes from BLM to National Forest in this area, the pine trees increase in size and the temperature starts to drop.

Further up the road we see this GAPING WASHOUT! It was impressive, must have been a helluva LOT of water coming down this road!

Not much longer and we were at North Beaver Mesa, with it’s incredible huge pine trees. We stopped for a break and let the dog run around chasing pine cones. The La Sal mtns were very close, there was even a small spec of snow still left on them. We were looking for smoke from the fire that’s in the area and could see light whisps, but nothing more. We figured the recent rains helped fight the fire.

We even saw some of the local mtn rats, then turned onto the pavement, headed down into Castle Valley and then onto home!

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